It's been a punishing decade for districts nationwide.
State funding fell sharply, and local funding didn’t make up the difference.
In most states, K-12 funding remains below 2008 levels. We're now also facing declines in income tax rates in most states -weakening most schools' local revenue source.
The share of state spending allocated to education has fallen from 22 percent in 2008 to 19 percent in 2017.
And then there is also 'School Choice':
- There are 57m students in the US education system. Of these, only 3% are enrolled in charter schools (87% in public schools and 10% in private schools).
- Forty-six states plus D.C. have policies addressing 'Open Enrollment' in some way.
- Out of the 57m student families, only a little over 1m (about 2%) are currently using some kind of school choice subsidy (tax credits or vouchers) with a total of 61 programs.
All these numbers are growing every year.
'School Choice' and 'Open Enrollment' are spreading across all states.
The proportion of districts that allow students to choose a different school than that of their pre-assigned institution has doubled over the past 16 years.
I'm being told by many principals and district heads that they feel hopeless.
They're giving their 110% to drive a better education for their community. Our students come to us with so many needs; social, educational, emotional...
What can they do if investment dries up?
How can they manage a possible imminent recession?
School leaders feel they can, at most, counteract rising costs through cost reduction programs.
The 'School Choice' movement is a force to be reckoned with.
Are school leaders powerless?
The short answer is no.
State funding is in jeopardy.
So, it's time to grab your school's destiny by the horns; to differentiate your school's brand, get the word out about all the wonderful things you've achieved, drive your student families' engagement and boost awareness in your community.
It is time to focus on growing enrollment and leading your school towards financial independence and self-reliance.